Thursday 23 November 2017

Tickbox TV: Concerns for Content Owners, Cable, and Silicon Valley

Tickbox TV provides a set top box, which allows users to access content on the internet.  Apparently, the device can be used to access and display copyrighted content, such as movies and television shows, through the use of Kodi (an open source media player) and add ons. Many content owners, represented by Munger Tolles & Olson, have filed a complaint for inducement and contributory infringement.  The case is somewhat similar to the classic Sony, Napster and Grokster type cases.  Joe Mullin of Arstechnica provides a very nice description of the case, here.  The Los Angeles Times recently reported on the ownership of Tickbox TV in an article titled, “How an Atlanta Power Couple’s Business Has Heightened Silicon Valley’s Piracy Anxieties.” 

I can understand the anxiety of content providers and some Silicon Valley companies.  As the Los Angeles Times article points out, Tickbox TV (with the software) is dangerous to some content owners (including those in Silicon Valley) because it operates similar to devices that some users may be more comfortable using—so, think of your technology adverse grandparents.  It is like plugging in a VCR.  This may also be a group of consumers who are paying “full price” for content and do not ordinarily illegally access material.  This should make cable and satellite services companies very concerned.  From the perspective of some in Silicon Valley, the case may lead to increased lobbying from content owners concerning stronger copyright protection depending on how the case turns out.  It appears that Tickbox TV is now receiving some counsel and is attempting to insulate itself from liability through the use of disclaimers. 

We are celebrating Thanksgiving in the United States today.  Happy Thanksgiving! 

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